CENTRAL FALLS — The City Council Monday approved Mayor James A. Diossa’s $17.2 million budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. The city budget is composed of five separate city ordinances. The city ordinances that set the tax rate and levy, the classified employees wage schedule and the capital program and budget were passed unanimously by the six-member council.
The city ordinances pertaining to the annual operating budget and the unclassified employees wage schedule were passed by a vote of 4 to 2, with Councilors Bob Ferri, Hugo Figueroa, Stephanie Gonzalez and Shelby Maldonado voting in favor. Casting the dissenting voters were Councilors Tammi Johnson and Tia Ristaino-Siegel. City Councilor Ann Racquier was out of town and unable to attend the meeting.
“We spent more than a dozen hours reviewing, analyzing and discussing this budget to ensure that it prepares our city for the future and positions us to truly be the comeback city. And I am confident that it will,” Ferri said Tuesday.
The approved budget cuts spending and is less than the budget proposed in the six-year bankruptcy recovery plan. The budget also provides tax relief to Central Falls homeowners through an increase to the Homestead Exemption. City car owners will also see tax relief through an increase in the Motor Vehicles Tax Exemption. Furthermore, the budget freezes the commercial tangible tax rate.
The approved budget also provides strategic investments for Central Falls’ comeback from bankruptcy. The budget invests in community policing and public safety, city infrastructure including roads and sidewalks and expanding green space and city parks.
“I’m thankful for the City Council’s confidence in this budget, a budget that will continue leading us in the right direction,” Diossa said. “This budget continues our priorities of doing more with less.”
“We are faithfully following the recovery plan, stabilizing the city’s finances, while, at the same time, working diligently to improve the city’s operations and deliver better services and greater quality of life to our residents and taxpayers,” the mayor added.
Read the rest of the story in Wednesday's newspaper.